Netherlands leave it late to beat Senegal in their World Cup opener

Netherlands' forward #08 Cody Gakpo celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP) (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)
Cody Gakpo gave Netherlands a late lead against Senegal (AFP via Getty)

Netherlands sealed a late 2-0 victory over Senegal to get their World Cup up and running.

After a goalless first half in which Frenkie de Jong spurned the best opportunity, both Netherlands and Senegal struggled to create clear-cut chances in the second half and it appeared both sides would labour to a goalless stalemate.

But Cody Gakpo put Louis van Gaal’s side in front with six minutes to go as he nipped ahead of Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to head the ball into an empty net.

The Chelsea goalkeeper will come under fire for Netherlands’ second goal as he palmed Memphis Depay’s tame shot straight into the path of Davy Klaassen, who sealed the win for the Oranje.

The result means both Netherlands and Ecuador have three points in Group A, while Qatar and Senegal are still looking for their first win.

Qatar play Senegal on Friday before Netherlands take on Ecuador later that day.

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